Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Character design of Ntim Gyakari



Anokye, the truth of Destiny
30min episode. 6 part series on TV Africa airs December 2011
This is a short clip from the character design stage that took place 3 months ago in Achimota. It was a long process with little sleep, we missed the deadline got ill, but had lots and lots of fun!



Synopsis
The best magician in the land wants to find out who he really is and a Prince wants to free his people from a tyrannical overlord, but neither can achieve what they desire without the other.
Together they embark on an adventure to unite the clans of Akan, free them from the overlords of Denkyira and save the sacred forests. Along the way our heroes learn valuable lessons in life. Anokye hopes that each adventure will lead him closer to his true identity and Prince Osei hopes to see his home land finally free. 

Concept
ANOKYE  is a (U) certificate, action adventure 2D animation that introduces Ghana to its first TV African super hero. Our heroes battle to unite the clans with each other and live in harmony with nature. A misunderstood magician and a disillusioned Prince separately battle against fates destined by others, but once they meet they use magic and wisdom to unite a people, defeat their oppressors and save the sacred forest. The story is based on the creation of the Asante Kingdom in 17th century Ghana. The theme and is expressed as:
‘Through unity, strength of purpose and courage

we can change ourselves and our world’
Tone
The story is an action adventure in the vein of Avatar, The last Air Bender animation. The mythical gods, totems, symbols and architecture of 17th century Akan will draw the audience into a rich world that has never been explored in fiction.  Anokye has themes and humour adults will enjoy without alienating the children. The lively world of nature are allowed to have personalities that are wise, mischievous and funny. 


Saturday, 10 September 2011

The making of Anokye, the truth of Destiny TV series, Prt 3 (prt 1 & 2 are yet to be written)

In May our concept artist Colin Williams came over from the UK to Ghana for 6 weeks, to soak himself in Ghanaian culture sites and sounds before embarking on a drawing and painting marathon. He was painting right up to the hour before we had to leave for the airport.


We took a tour of Anokye relevant sites in Asante and Akuapem. 


We visited Kumasi, went to the sword site, Manhyia Place, Besease Shrine house and the KNUST’s botanical gardens because it’s got a river / stream / brook that Anokye created for some people that he and Osei Tutu moved there after the war with Denkyira. Then we went to Aburi to see the magnificent   giant shrine outside the palace. (At first we were not sure if it was a sculpture or a Shrine) before getting to Awukugua to see the home of Anokye and Nana Yaw the priest who now lives there.


 As soon as we came back work began. Colin drew lots of ink drawings of various spaces, then worked up some of the settings. We talked loads about the visual language of  Ghana of Ghana and what we want for the film.

We went to art galleries and looked the history of visual art in Ghana and in the end a theme of constant movement and texture rose to the surface. Colin felt that a particular style of wax batik best expressed that. I love Colins back grounds so much that we decided not to try and copy the style digitally, but to use hand painted backgrounds. The first time I saw characters moving in Colin's settings I just wanted to cry. The results were stunning! unfortunetly I can't show any  of that until the launch in November.

Anokye's brook is behind a cathedral of giant bamboo and is the most beautiful place. And there is a giant Silk Cotton tree there. (The hand of Anokye is everywhere)


We bumped into an old man fishing in water that appeared to be too shallow, but he said that he fished there all the time.
Colin left us with a mountain of drawings and painting that brought to life the world in which the story would take place. 


Then work began on the characters. we  had early workings out of characters from artists like Jennifer Lewis, Drew Sinclair, Victor Opeyokun and Gareth Nash and others in the UK.  


Francis Brown aka Animax Brown, Hanson Akatti, the Black Monk and Nana Hene Kudoah all got the photo packs of the people the characters are based on.  The biggest thing as per always when working with artists is getting the style that feels right for the story you want to tell. 
Hanson drew all the heads, then Black and Nana Hene drew the bodies. the colour was done by Hanson and Black. We ended up with 2 styles of painting because Hanson uses a graphics tablet and Black uses a mouse. I'll post a video of Hanson discussing his favorite character.








The whole process took about a month Brown and Hanson moved in for a while and worked what seemed like round the clock at times, with Black sometimes camping out on the sofa. Sleep was a prised a commodity in thoes days and I think all of us got Maleria at different times because of over tiredness.  Seren (my son) kept us entertained and loved every minute of having so many artists around. Brown drew and painted all the props. I'll post a short video of him discussing that process soon.

All the time this was going on I was finallising the   script and so the layout begun. Brown worked tirelessly on this, while I began to recruit animators. I am so pleased that we have a girl on the team again 


The storyboard was drawn by Selom. We had a great day at the start of that process when we started to time and act out the actions. I'll post a video on that soon.

We are due to show the whole process from photo to moving character soon on TV to the person that character is based on . I'll post the video on here all about that after we go on the program.


thanks!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Product Placement in 'Anokye, the truth of Destiny' 2D cartoon for TV Africa


Anokye, the truth of Destiny

To be broadcast on TV Africa (Ghana) starting in December 2011. We have one 30min prime time weekend slot and a repeat late night on a week day. This is to cater for both of our audiences: children and males between 14 and 35. 

Synopsis

The best magician in the land wants to find out who he really is and a Prince want to free his people from a tyrannical overlord, but neither can achieve what they desire without the other. Together they embark on an adventure to unite the clans of Akan and free them from the overlords of Denkyira and save the sacred forests. Along the way our heroes learn valuable lessons in life. Anokye hopes that each adventure will lead him closer to his true identity and Prince Osei hopes to see his home land finally free.   

I have really enjoyed the artistic side of creating the artworks for Anokye, but attracting investment is something that I find daunting to say the least, because you have to ask…

I am slowly trying to get over it and  go forth with confidence and our Marketing manager at my side. So far the reaction has been good, but we are only at he start. We have had one bite, which is very exciting! 
Although in my fantasy world someone with lots of money comes along and says,
 ' here's a bag of money, go make a film!' 
and I say, 
‘thank you exec producer' and we skip happily into the end credits.

Our marketing manager and cultural expert Kofi Boateng is the man in the know in terms of brands so we have spent this week ringing up marketing execs in brands and advertising agencies and driving round the streets of Accra, going from appointment to appointment with a hand bag and a folder in a basket. (I think I'll drop the basket and folder next week) I'm going to put all the info on a flash drive or CD (my lap top broke ??!!!"*!) 

We have broken down down every other day. I took some footage of this mornings breakdown when petrol starting leeking from under the car outside one of Ghana’s biggest ad agencies, then the marketing exec came out of the building and saw us, bonnet up and Kofi under the back. This same guy saw us 2 days ago broken down in Kokomelem after we first came to make the appointment for the meeting we had this morning. But the best thing about Ghana is he didn’t make us feel bad. Dare I say that he didn’t appear to judge us. I hope not anyway.

I like the system in Ghana for getting programs on air. You buy the airtime once your program has been approved by the broadcaster, then you find the sponsors whose brands tie in with what you are doing and they give you money. I like the way it gives you lots of freedom to do what you want, but not quite, as you have to convince the brands that what you want and what they need is one and the same. I have a bit of re writing to do this weekend to talk more about the benefits the brands will get out of being associated with us. I had kinda hoped that it was obvious, but I have seen that these people are very, very, very busy. So I have to do that bit of thinking for them.

We have also come up with some other ideas for revenue raising. We’re offering product placement in the series for furniture, architecture, clothes and jewelry, Hence the advert at the top of the page. We are also looking for product tie ins, such as filtered or mineral water, sweets and so on. Product tie ins is are not a big feature here as I had to explain it a lot today. I may have to wait till the first series airs to try that one, but I am convinced that once we get one brand on board for a product tie in, everyone will want to do it.  (Or that could be me dreaming again).

We had a great meeting with a media buyer and advertising man who deals with Sansung. He’s a really busy business man with quite a few different businesses on the go, so although he didn’t have any clients for us at the moment, he picked up his phone and giant business card album and started giving us numbers and the low down on who to go to! I just can’t believe how generous he was.
The other good thing today was feeling that maybe the car will be alright after all. We only pushed it once and it started almost straight away! 
It will be hello to Tema on Monday and I think that maybe I am looking forward to it.

So if you are interested in advertising slots, product placement, product tie ins or just giving us a bag of money then just drop us a line to
ofosuhene.akua@gmail.com.

thanks!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Animators visit to Awukugua, the home town of Okomfo Anokye

The compound of the shaman Okomfo Anokye, there was a school of taught that the shaman Anokye was born and raised up here on this compound till he was 15yrs before moving away from Awukugua.

















 The amazing meandering nature of rocks through the whole village of Awukugua.It is believed that the rocks which goes through the village is some kind of a god which protect all the corners of the village.

 The main street of Awukugua. On this side of the road is some of the crew searching for the priest of the town for more information about Okomfo Anokye.
This is the site where the famous palm tree Anokye planted and climbed with his foot print on it is situated.The palm tree came down in the year 1982 but some say 1985.After Anokye was banished in Awukugua, he pulled a palm fruit and sucked the water out of it turned the palm tree upside down and cursed "I've turned the whole village upside down there will be no peace and understanding between your selves and when this palm tree comes down it will not fall down and kill people but rather will suspend in the air but in three pieces" and it is said it really happened as he said.
the whole inside the wall show the mark of the palm tree which came down suspending.Nana Yaw was explaining how the tree came down and after some years it got rotten and left that mark in the wall.
 The herbs in the compound.It is said that this small part in the house always grows new species of plant every year which is used to cure illness in the village by the priest.
 An interaction with the current priest in the compound. Starting from the extreme right is my self taking the coverage, in-between is Nana Hene one of the animators to animate kyenekye, and in front is Selom the animator of Anokye himself, in front of us is Nana Yaw the priest, giving us the history of Okomfo Anokye. 
 Nana Yaw was showing the mark between the rocks which Anokye join together. In between these two rocks are 36 gold pebbles sealed, it was sealed because Anokye felt betrayed by the people of Awukugua so he cursed the village that the golden pebbles are the wealth of the village and he has sealed it forever.These golden pebbles where the pebbles used to play the oware he created with his heels on the rock, he commanded them from the skies.

 This is the oware that Anokye created with his heels.He used to play it with his friends near the road under a tree.

 Hey that's Akua Ofosuhene the Producer and Director of Anokye Films.











Written by: Animax FYB. aka Francis Brown.
 Anokye props designer and painter.
Animator of Asante Kotoko - Porcupine and all the animals in 'Anokye the truth of Destiny' the new animated TV series from Anokye Films. Pilot episode airing in November 2011.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Anokye's Children's book of Rhymes to be published by SMARTLINE publishing


Our aim in writing the book of rhymes is to make the Anokye history accessible to al ages. We believe that being playful and allowing our imagination to guide our exploration of our history is the key to unlocking the creativity in the African child. For too long the African child never sees themselves during his or her formative years and this is wrong. The African child can only grow up to achieve his or her full potential if the heroes they are exposed to is just like them and the iconic stories told are reworked to be relevant for their generation.
For me as a parent I believe that there is nothing more important than instilling a love of nature, a love of freedom, a love of unity and a drive to dream big in the coming generations.

Anokye Book of rhymes came about as game between Louise Lynas (assistant producer) and my 9 year old son Seren. Both have a talent for rhymes. One day they started to rhyme the Anokye story and I was gripped. Louise agreed to start  writing the book and Seren has remained a keen critic and continues to write raps about food and the environment.

How we worked on the book


I wrote the treatment of a fictionalized mythic adventure about Okomfo Anokye 2 years ago. Louise then took that and began writing the rhymes in our sitting room in Accra. She then returned to the UK with a book that needed some editing. It was not long before she managed to rope in Emma Grant, a keen filmmaker, artist, illustrator and animator.

Emma kindly agreed to illustrate the book for us. I love Emma’s work and was really happy with what I saw when I got the first bit of artwork from her. I was even more bowled over when I saw the little animation that she had done to go with the book.

The final phases of editing took a while as Louise was working hard in the UK, but she finally got there in the end. Then I got an email from a lovely girl in America asking to help out / shadow / internish with me for a short while. Emelia came to Ghana and her first task was to find us a publisher for the book.

Emelia called me one day and said that she had sent the transcript to SMARTLINE publishing. I went with her to a meeting and met the lovely Elliot, the CEO.
He said that they loved the transcript, couldn’t believe that no one had done it and would love to publish it!

We have all been in cloud 9 since we got the news. It’s funny working on this as we are disparate groups of people working on different aspects in 3 countries. UK, South Africa and Ghana. Maybe even USA and or India or Canada will be part of this story soon. I thank I quite like the way that no one person knows everyone. What links and unites us is our belief in the story and that is great! 




Thursday, 1 September 2011

In the begining

The artistic development of  Anokye began  with my first documentary Queen Yaa Asantewaa and the Golden Stool. Yaa Asantewaa was a Queen and grand mother who stood galvinised the Asante to fight when the British demanded the Golden Stool.  

 Once I learned that the famed Golden Stool would be brought out in public 2 years later I made myself a promise to make a documentary about Anokye and Osei Tutu, the 17th century architects of the unification of the clans of Akan, who became a new nation called the Asante.  As we grappled with how to tell the story of Anokye’s conjuring of the Golden Chair from the sky and his thrusting into the ground of the only immovable sword in the world. 
The story burst out of the confines of a documentary into a  Children’s book of Rhymes, an animated TV series and a mythic adventure feature length 3D animation film. 

all tThese we hope will do justice to a story of magic, living ones destiny, unity, respect and honouring the  environment. Over the last 2 years I have gone from a happy lone filmmaker into working with a wide group of artists and film people in the UK, Ghana, South Africa and America. For me working on Anokye is something more than an obsession and as we work tirelessly to raise the investment needed to make Anokye a truly multi format, multi platform story. Our over ridding ambition is to do justice to the greatest
Story that we have to share with the world. 

Producer: Akua Ofosuhene


Our team has expanded and shrunk over the years, but each artist has left a trace of their work. I think of Anokye as a train. Different people get on and get off, but they all do something to move the project and change us a bit, and the Anokye train just keeps moving!